With few noteworthy tourist sights, the lively streets of Neukölln are best experienced like a local.
Until around the last decade Neukölln probably wasn’t too high on most tourist’s itineraries but today the district has plenty to offer. With one of the highest percentage immigrant populations in the city, it’s a district full of character and colour with many people of Arab, Turkish and Kurdish backgrounds calling it home. The northern part of the district which borders Kreuzberg has become rather trendy and commonly referred to as Kreuzkölln has attracted many younger creative immigrants who have settled in Berlin due to its lower, although quickly climbing rents. Walking down either Sonnenallee or Karl-Marx-Straße one can find no shortage of Shisha bars, Turkish restaurants and some of the city’s best Baklava.
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This airport turned city park is one of a kind
Cherished amongst the locals, this former airport turned park is open to the public daily from sun up to sundown. The 386-hectare open space is popular for cycling or jogging, offers a large grill park for your summer barbeque cravings and you can even walk along the former runway strip! Built originally as a parade ground, it was transformed into an airport at the beginning of the 20th century. It also has its fair share of history, playing a pivotal role in the Berlin Airlift from 1948-1949 when the Soviet administration halted land transport into Berlin effectively shutting off West-Berlin’s supply lines.
With only the airport corridors remaining open, supplies needed for the sustenance of West-Berlin had to be flown in. The airlift, although only intended to be temporary lasted a year and at its height, a plane landed or took off from West Berlin every 30 seconds! English tours of the airport can be taken Wednesday through till Sunday and are a great insight into the airport’s history.
An idyllic ‘village’ trip in the center of Berlin
Walking off one of Neukölln’s largest streets Karl Marx Str. down Richardplatz immediately feels as though you’re transported out of Berlin to a rural village. Although Neukölln isn’t known as a quiet and calm district of Berlin, the pace of life slows down once you enter this little enclave. Rixdorf itself was founded by a small community of Bohemian refugees in 1737 near Berlin. It may be hard to believe now but for many years this village was separated from Berlin by fields.
Although now well and truly integrated into the city, the Czech influence remains visible with wooden barns tucked between modern apartments, The Bethlehem Church which dates back to 1481, Berlin’s second oldest cemetery and even a historical smithy. Be sure to make it to the Comenius Garten, a lush space inaugurated in 1995 in the presence of the mayors of both Berlin and Prague.
From trendy day time shopping to cozy candlelit bars
f you’re after a taste of Neukölln’s new young and trendy scene then spending an afternoon or evening ducking in and around Weserstr. is a must. Although a result of the gentrification of the neighbourhood there is some great shopping to be had if upmarket vintage is your kind of thing; try Lemagass, Chrome Store or Neuzwei among many others. If you need a sit down during shopping then K-fetisch is a great socially conscious cafe to do so, with affordable princes and killer homemade banana bread.
If you’re wanting a weekend out but steering clear of clubbing and keen to keep things calm then this neighbourhood has you covered with plenty of candlelit bars, exposed walls and cheap drinks to occupy you till the early morning. Ä, Tier, Weser 58 and Du Beast are all well worth visiting, as well as Ratzeputz, famous, for it’s delicious, albeit dangerous 58% ginger schnapps. For a laugh, try Comedy Café Berlin, with plenty of English nights to make your sides hurt. And lastly, Wolf Kino is a gorgeous independent cinema and bar worth checking out!
Sonnenallee 165, 12059 Berlin
Small and quint old school mini-golf. Very affordable and drinks are offered too, perfect for a free sunny afternoon. Some may argue it’s in desperate need of renovation but we believe that’s part of its charm!
Mae Charoen Thai Imbiss
Sonnenallee 134, 12059 Berlin)
A must for affordable and delicious Thai food. Not advisable to visit with a big group of friends as the tiny restaurant seats less than 10 people inside. But it’s perfect for a quick stop, with food served within minutes after ordering.
Karl-Marx-Straße 66, 12043 Berlin
A roof-top bar with stunning views. This hidden gem is tough to find. First head to the Neukolln Arkaden, then once in, take an elevator to the top floor, stroll through the carpark, and then be graced with beautiful sweeping views over Berlin, best enjoyed with a coffee or beer!
Sonnenallee 40, 12045 Berlin
This Lebanese restaurant is a local favourite. Serving up well-sized portions at low prices it’s a great lunch or dinner stop if you’re in the area. And if you’re only after a snack, then grab a Schwarma or Falafel.
Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin
A great all-inclusive queer club. Known for its open-door policy all are welcome. With a range of music and occasional drag shows it’s well worth checking the event calendar to see what’s on.
Ganghoferstraße 3, 12043 Berlin
One of Europe’s most beautiful pools and Saunas. Spacious and adorned with columns and mosaics. The Sauna is textile free only. Swimwear is however required in the pool on all days other than Sunday.